How to achieve same sound quality as Fuze preloaded music?

Hi everyone!  I am new to working with MP3 players and have searched this forum with no luck for an answer to my question.  I have successfully transferred music files from my PC to my Fuze 4G, however the sound quality of my transferred files is not as good as those songs that came preloaded on the Fuze.  I am using WMP 11 with the following settings: 

Rip Settings:  Format=WMA, Audio Quality=192 Kbps

Fuze Properties:  Select quality level automatically

As I said, I am a newbie and may be doing something basically stupid.

Any suggestions are appreciated!

Message Edited by bawoo169 on 04-23-2010 05:55 AM

First, use a better ripping program than WMP. Winamp (Gold Version $20 US), Media Monkey, EAC, dbPoweramp or a slew of others will all do a better job. Choose one that uses the LAME mp3 encoder (most do, but not WMP). Rip in .mp3 format and at a bit-rate of 256kbps.

Or go ‘whole-hog’ and convert to FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) for CD quality. The trade-off for this is that the file size will be about 3 times larger (than 256k .mp3). Only you can decide if you want quality or quantity. I think 256kbps is a great compromise. Then there’s also OGG . . .

TMC, Tapeworm. Too many choices.

Media Monkey is a good ripper with an interface similar to WMPlayer.Get the free version at www.mediamonkey.com .

 But you have to do a geek trick to use it. Its LAME encoder,  lame_enc.dll , times out after a trial period.  So after you install Media Monkey, immediately get the latest LAME from here : http://lame.buanzo.com.ar/ . For Windows, you can use either the .exe or the .zip. The .exe will create a Program Files folder called Lame for Audacity. The .zip will unzip wherever you send. it. In the folder it makes, find lame_enc.dll and copy it. Then find lame_enc.dll in Media Monkey (probably C:\Program Files\Media Monkey) and substitute the newer version of lame_enc.dll. 

Forget you ever did this. You’ll never have to think about it again (unless you feel like updating Lame sometime). 

Then go into Media Monkey’s settings and set mp3 quality to 256 kbps or 320 kbps, or to alt-preset-insane if you want the maximum sound quality.  I really think FLAC is overkill–computers can detect the difference between FLAC and high-quality mp3, but most humans can’t. Do a test–rip to both, and see if you really need FLAC. 

For more information about LAME, check out this page:

http://lame.sourceforge.net/links.php

It has links to all the software that uses LAME. EAC and Foobar are also good, but they are slow. 

Message Edited by Black-Rectangle on 04-22-2010 09:32 PM

@black_rectangle wrote:

 

 

It has links to all the software that uses LAME. EAC and Foobar are also good, but they are slow. 

Message Edited by Black-Rectangle on 04-22-2010 09:32 PM

I don’t know about foobar (never used it), but EAC is slow mainly because it goes to great lengths to ensure that its rips are as accurate as possible. If that’s your #1 priority, it’s hard to beat EAC. 

Black-Rectangle wrote:

 

Then go into Media Monkey’s settings and set mp3 quality to 256 kbps or 320 kbps, or to alt-preset-insane if you want the maximum sound quality.  I really think FLAC is overkill–computers can detect the difference between FLAC and high-quality mp3, but most humans can’t. Do a test–rip to both, and see if you really need FLAC. 

I will agree that FLAC is overkill for use on the actual player…but it is good to have on your hard drive.

But I have to say, all this good information here, and yet you’re recommending 256 or 320 CBR? For shame…that is 20th century tech. VBR is the way to go… even the highest quality setting, V0, saves space over 256 CBR…the bitrate varies in accordance with the complexity of the music. I have found that the V2 setting is a great compromise…filesize is far smaller than 256CBR, and quality-wise, I can’t distinguish V2 from FLAC (all our ears are different though).

So any of my CD’s that are ripped to FLAC, if they are gapless albums, I do a LAME V2 mp3 conversion (since my Clip+ now does gapless LAME mp3) and for my non-gapless albums, I convert the FLACs to 75% Quality-level WMA VBRs, which are even a little smaller filesize than LAME V2, but sound just as good. Note: I do these FLAC conversions with MediaMonkey, because as previously noted,   WMP sucks as a ripper, and kind of gives WMA a bad rap because of it.

I have 3,700 songs on my Clip+, with room to spare for podcasts…try that with all 256 or 320 CBR.:wink: (and they all sound good, not like the 64kbps CBR’s some have espoused here.) Also, the wma’s work perfectly well with the ReplayGain, too…which is one of the best features Sansa ever implemented.

gwk1967 wrote:


@black_rectangle wrote:

 

 

It has links to all the software that uses LAME. EAC and Foobar are also good, but they are slow. 


I don’t know about foobar (never used it), but EAC is slow mainly because it goes to great lengths to ensure that its rips are as accurate as possible. If that’s your #1 priority, it’s hard to beat EAC. 

+1…I do all my ripping with EAC, but yes, it can be slower, especially with older, scratched up CD’s that WMP would just let skip madly.

Wow!  Thanks to everyone for all the good information and recommendations.  Although some of this is over my head at this time, I am learning more.  I recently installed Roxio Creator 2010 Pro, is Roxio a better choice than Windows Media to work with the Fuze?

Again, thanks for the help!:smiley:

Basically, you need a good ripper and a way to organize the music.

One important element of a ripper,  besides sound quality, is getting the tags (electronic labels in the files) that let the Fuze find your music. WMP (and iTunes) have access to the best online tag database, CDDB, but they are inferior rippers. MediaMonkey (with LAME as above) uses Freedb, which is user-created and pretty good, but not always correct and not always up-to-date with the newest releases.  Once ripped, you can (and should) re-tag with mp3tag, a free program that can also look in Amazon’s tag database. The Fuze likes tags in the format ID3v2.3 ISO-8859-1, which is something you can set (under Tools/Options/Tags/Mpeg–Write) in mp3tag. 

Roxio Creator Pro seems to be more for creating and burning CDs and DVDs than for the modest functions of ripping CDs and organizing them on the Fuze. At that price, it had better have a good ripper built in and good tagging, but it has a lot of functions that are irrelevant to the Fuze. And I don’t know whether it has the playlisting functions of a music library program like WMP or Media Monkey. You could rip with Roxio and then use MSC mode.

The Fuze has two USB Modes (under Settings/System Settings). Under MSC mode, the computer sees it as storage. You rip a CD onto your hard drive and drag and drop it onto the Fuze. 

MTP mode is supposed to work with Windows Media Player the way iPods work with iTunes. You can use WMP to make playlists and sync (make the Fuze match what’s in the library on your computer). Unfortunately WMP’s built-in ripper isn’t as good as other music-library software. And WMP’s defaults can try to do things behind your back, like ripping to .wma unless you change it to .mp3, adding copy protection (crippling files) or trying to sync everything automatically whenever you plug in.  I find it tyrannical and glitchy, but lots of people use it without complaint.

I’m a little old-school. I rip CDs to hard drive and drag them over. I generally listen to albums or one artist, so I don’t do playlisting. But for my needs, MSC mode works perfectly, and nothing happens on the Fuze that I don’t control. 

Media Monkey works in MSC or MTP mode, but for playlists in Media Monkey, you’re better off in MTP mode. 

Message Edited by Black-Rectangle on 04-23-2010 08:41 AM

@bawoo169 wrote:

 I recently installed Roxio Creator 2010 Pro, is Roxio a better choice than Windows Media to work with the Fuze?

 

 

 Probably not.

Black-Rectangle,

Your preferences regarding playlists is the same as mine, I would rather select albums and drag them to burn to the Fuze.   I’m going to give Media Monkey with LAME and mp3tag a try.  Roxio is too complicated to use with the Fuze.

Thanks for sharing your expertise.

The Roxio Pro software is great for editing video, photos, or even making digital versions of LPs, I see.  Using it to generate MP3 files is like using a Boeing 747 as a commuter jet.

Oh wait, some folks do that, I see.  Never mind.

Lolz. 

Bob  :stuck_out_tongue:

Bob,

Thanks for the insight! :smiley:

I can recommend Ogg format for audio, q-0 to q-3 should be plenty for any common tracks, any “killer tracks” shouldnt need higher then q-6 settings…

I recommend dbpoweramp for audio ripping and conversion as it makes the job a breeze, just rclick the file/files you want to convert, choose convert to and your format/settings bam done, dbpoweramp is known as the swiss army knife of audio conversion tools :slight_smile:

Pesonally, I think that 256 is a little high. I Myself prefere 192 (abr). Also, as far as ripping goes, one program I enjoy using is BonkEnc. I enjoy that fact that it is simple and straight-forward. The only thing it doesn’t do that I wish it would is rip in WMA format, although it does support mp3 (using LAME), as well as flac. You can even edit the tags for the cd yourself (artist, album, gernre, ect) before you rip it, and manually specifit the tag format to ISO-8859-1 (or anything else you may want). And, of course, it has the ability to download the info from freedb. Just be warned: this program does not rip cds to “libraries” like most rippers do (meaning *you* have to tell it where to rip the cd each time). This (in my opinion) makes it easier for someone who only rips one cd every once-in-a-while, and manually drags the files to the fuze (like me). However, this can make things more difficult for someone who rips cds frequently.

Personally, I think that 256 is a little high. I Myself prefer 192 (abr). Also, as far as ripping goes, one program I enjoy using is BonkEnc. I enjoy that fact that it is simple and straightforward (and free). The only thing it doesn’t do that I wish it would is rip in WMA format, although it does support mp3 (using LAME), as well as flac. You can even edit the tags for the CD yourself (artist, album, grenre, ect) before you rip it, and manually specify the tag format to ISO-8859-1 (or anything else you may want). And, of course, it has the ability to download the info from freedb. Just be warned: this program does not rip CDC to “libraries” like most rippers do (meaning *you* have to tell it where to rip the CD each time). This (in my opinion) makes it easier for someone who only rips one CD every once-in-a-while, and manually drags the files to the Fuze (like me). However, this can make things more difficult for someone who rips CDC frequently. If anyone is interested, it can be found Here.

EDIT: Real player also supports most of these features. You probably won’t need most of the features of the premium version (in most cases, the free version will due). I supports all of the above mentioned formats (including WMA), and can automatically copy your music to your Fuze for you (just like WMP). It can be found Here.

You can also find both of these programs by searching Google. PS : Sorry for the long post, but I like giving anyone who might read this *all* the info they might need (ok, so I also enjoy sounding smart. What’s wrong with that? :wink:).

Message Edited by halonachos117 on 05-02-2010 03:23 PM